Snorting Adderall and Other Ways to Take It

While Adderall is often prescribed as a pill for the treatment of ADHD and narcolepsy, misuse can occur in different forms, including snorting.

Snorting Adderall and Other Ways to Take It

Table of Contents

What Is Adderall?

Adderall is a psychostimulant made of two main chemicals: dextroamphetamine and amphetamine. It is active in the central nervous system, where it works as a catalyst to elevate chemical levels and improve communication throughout the body.

Most often, Adderall is used in the treatment of two disorders: attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, and narcolepsy, a sleeping disorder. It helps correct the respective dopamine and hypocretin deficiencies by increasing the available amounts of dopamine and norepinephrine in the body.

The Effects of Adderall on People Without ADHD

When people without ADHD take Adderall, it can produce the opposite effects compared to when it is used to treat an actual disorder. People with ADHD have decreased amounts of dopamine available in the body, and when they take Adderall, it elevates their dopamine to normal levels.

For people without ADHD, when Adderall enters the body, it elevates already normal dopamine to higher levels.1 This can produce feelings of euphoria and increased energy, which is why the drug has become popular for certain demographics.

Who Abuses Adderall?

Anyone can develop a substance use disorder (SUD). For Adderall, though, abuse is seen most often in younger people, especially those on college campuses. Adderall abuse is the most common form of substance misuse seen in college students, with a study conducted by the National Institute of Health citing that 6.4% of students aged 18-22 have misused Adderall during their college experience.2

While Adderall abuse disproportionately affects younger people, Adderall addiction can also occur in those prescribed the substance by a medical professional to treat ADHD or narcolepsy. When a substance frequently enters the body, the body becomes accustomed to it. Over time, this dependency has the potential to lead to abuse and addiction.

Why is Adderall Misuse Common in Young People?

Adderall abuse has become common on college campuses where it is often used as a “study drug”. College students use it because of its side effects, which can cause temporary feelings of euphoria and elevated energy. For young people on college campuses, Adderall abuse has shifted away from its roots as an illicit party substance to a mechanism for coping with the stress of school. Adderall misuse has also become a weight loss solution, as the drug decreases the user’s appetite. However, while Adderall may cause temporary benefits such as increased energy, frequent Adderall abuse can lead to addiction, as well as a variety of harmful side effects.3

What Happens When You Snort Adderall?

Adderall snorting is a common form of misuse. Snorting Adderall produces near-instant effects by allowing the substance to enter the body at an accelerated rate.4 Snorting is most often seen with extended-release forms of Adderall since the process of crushing the drug quickens the release mechanism. Due to the immediate, sharp increase of dopamine, Adderall snorting increases the risk for addiction.

Side Effects of Snorting Adderall

Adderall abuse poses a large risk of side effects. However, when users stray away from the prescribed method, such as when snorting, this risk is increased.4 Some of Adderall side effects include:
  • High blood pressure
  • Irregular sleep schedule
  • Decreased appetite
  • Seizures
  • Strokes
  • High blood pressure

Adderall snorting doesn’t only increase the chance for side effects: it also increases their severity. When snorted, Adderall has the potential to cause severe damage to the nasal cavity, much like other commonly snorted substances. Adderall snorting side effects can include:

  • Congestion
  • Frequent nose bleeds
  • Impaired sense of smell
  • Nasal septum damage

Snorting Adderall vs Taking It Orally

When administered orally, Adderall takes more time to break down and enter the bloodstream, where it can affect the body. However, when snorted, Adderall is absorbed directly into the bloodstream, accelerating the rate of effects. Through the nasal cavity, substances also have a greater potential of reaching the central nervous system, where Adderall has the most impact. Nasal misuse of Adderall also has a higher risk for severe side effects and addiction.

Other Methods of Abusing Adderall

Other than taking Adderall orally or snorting it, the drug can also be taken intravenously as an injection or through the rectum, which is known as “plugging”. Both are forms of misuse that can result in greater side effects.

Signs of Adderall Addiction

Detecting signs of an Adderall addiction can be difficult due to the variance between individuals. However, certain signs and symptoms may indicate a possible addiction. Some of the potential signs include:
If an individual stops taking the drug and begins experiencing withdrawal symptoms, they are likely struggling with an addiction to Adderall as well.

Signs That Someone Is Snorting Adderall

Since Adderall snorting increases the risk of addiction, many of the signs are the same or similar both in snorting the drug or taking it orally. However, snorting Adderall offers its own sign, which is the manipulation of the form of Adderall.

Because Adderall cannot be snorted whole, crushing or otherwise breaking down the tablets into powder can be an indication that someone is snorting Adderall. Issues with one’s nose such as nose bleeds or congestion are another signal of Adderall snorting.

How Long Do Adderall’s Effects Last?

How long the effects of Adderall last will vary between individuals and depend on a variety of factors. However, once the substance has been completely metabolized and removed from the body, then the effects should cease.

Factors that can affect how long Adderall’s effects last in the body including one’s:

  • Dosage

  • Bodyweight

  • Age

  • Sex

Adderall Overdose

As with all medicinal substances, when too much enters the body at once, there is the potential risk for an overdose to occur. Signs of a stimulant overdose, such as with Adderall, include:5

As of now, there are no FDA-approved treatments for an Adderall overdose. However, overdoses still have a high potential for being fatal, so seeking professional medical help as soon as possible is important. While no standard treatment exists, some medications can help stabilize the body and recover from the symptoms of an overdose.

Can Snorting Adderall Cause an Overdose?

Because snorting Adderall instantly stimulates the brain, there is an increased chance for an overdose to occur. Rather than metabolizing and entering the bloodstream through digestion as with prescribed use, snorting Adderall increases the frequency at which the substance reaches the brain. Snorting the drug can quickly overwhelm the brain and lead to an overdose.

Getting Help for Adderall Addiction

For people with a substance use disorder involving Adderall, seeking help and treatment can improve their quality of life while also reversing some of the side effects of Adderall addiction.

Treatments that are undergone through the guidance of a medical professional target the source of addiction while also aiding in the body’s recovery from the side effects.

Adderall Detox & Withdrawal

If Adderall use stops suddenly, there is a high chance that the body will undergo a withdrawal.

Adderall withdrawal occurs because, after prolonged use, the body becomes accustomed to the substance regularly being administered. The brain also becomes accustomed to the elevated levels of dopamine and norepinephrine as a result of Adderall use. When the body returns to natural levels, it can result in a “crash” that creates discomfort.

Adderall side effects during withdrawal can come in many forms, including physical and psychological. Cravings can also be expected during the withdrawal process. Symptoms may include:

  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • Headaches
  • Depression
  • Difficulty concentrating

While this period may be uncomfortable, a total detox is necessary for recovery from an Adderall addiction. For the body to recover, it must be given the time to metabolize and eliminate all traces of the substances as well as readjust to natural levels of brain chemicals.

Dual Diagnosis

While the body recovers and readjusts through detox, it also important to identify underlying health issues that could lead to substance abuse. A dual diagnosis, when necessary, can help to detect any conditions – such as mental disorders or past trauma – that may be the source of addiction.


Learning to identify and correct behaviors that trigger Adderall abuse is a keystone in recovering. There are two main therapies used in recovery from substance abuse: contingency management (CM) and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). Contingency management focuses on rewarding milestone accomplishments to encourage further steps to recovery while cognitive-behavioral therapy works on identifying and addressing behaviors that may trigger future abuse.


Recovery doesn’t have to be done alone. Treatment for Adderall addiction can be conducted in both an inpatient and outpatient setting. These options provide settings better qualified to treat different individuals during their recovery from Adderall addiction.



If you or a loved one needs help, please call us at
623-523-4748 and our team at Blueprints For Recovery in Arizona will help.

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